A Labor Department lawyer, charged with sexually assaulting his co-worker in her Northwest Washington home, was found dead Tuesday in his D.C. jail cell, officials said.
Paul Mannina, 58, of Ashton was found with his throat cut, two police officials familiar with the investigation said. He shared the cell with another inmate, but it remained unknown whether the wound was self-inflicted. Authorities did not explain why Mannina was sharing a cell or whether he was in protective custody at the time of his death.
Jail officials released a statement early Tuesday that Mannina was found “unresponsive” in his jail cell by jail employees at 3:43 a.m. and pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities are looking into the cause.
Mannina’s death came just hours after an emotional court hearing during which a judge ordered that Mannina remain jailed on charges that he attacked a co-worker in her home on June 5. At the hearing, Mannina’s lawyer, Mike McAuliffe, argued that his client should remain free.
On Tuesday, McAuliffe told WTOP: “I thought he needed mental help. He’s never been in any trouble before and he’s not a danger to the community. ... It’s horribly sad”
A detective testified at that hearing that days after the attack Mannina was admitted into a Montgomery County hospital because he had a “change in his mental state.” Mannina at the time had a 0.12 blood alcohol level and had tested positive for opiates and Tylenol.
McAuliffe declined to comment at the time on whether that incident was a suicide attempt.
Authorities have said Mannina and his co-worker planned to skip work on June 5 and spend the day together, but something went wrong. Mannina either punched the woman in the face or sprayed her with mace, according to police and court papers.
He then tried to stun her with a stun gun, handcuffed her hands behind her back and knocked her to the living room floor, authorities said.
During Monday’s hearing, several of Mannina’s neighbors testified about their Ashton neighbor and his wife and two stepsons. Mannina sobbed openly in court with his face on the table in front of him, his wife seated among 30 or so friends, relatives and neighbors.